29 September 2011

Teaching courage...part II

From the Cop and Solider side:  Getting back on the topic of “how do you teach courage?”  I looked back through some of my old US Army and civilian police training books and was unable to find any chapters on this topic.  So, I guess it’s impossible to teach…..

Or, is it something picked up through good training? 
You have to be a Hero to have an Army Camp named after you....

When I was in Bosnia (SFOR 14, 2003-04) I was talking to a former Serb Army commander…who was referred to as a hero.  He was even in a book (damn it, I can’t recall his name to give you a link, but he impressed me---it was one of those “Sandwich” names.)    When I asked him about being a hero, he just said a “hero is somebody who does something that MUST be done when nobody else is able or willing to do it.”  As he explained further, a real hero doesn’t go look to be one….  It just happens. 

Several years ago, in my cop job, I had my old boss have a “chat” we me about an officer the department had in the police academy.  I’ll cal that officer “rookie #1”.   That officer failed the first time going through the driving course.  The chief put that officer through a second time (to this day I can only guess because that officer was a child of the chief’s friend.) 

Because Rookie #1 failed on the driving course, Rookie #2, who was in a later class, was stressing out about the driving course.  The chief told me to get Rookie #2 straightened out.  So, you’d think I took rookie #2 out to drive…..nope, I just had a little talk.  “Why are you afraid of a car?  You drive one every day, and they are PAYING YOU TO DRIVE FAST AND HAVE FUN!” 

Rookie #2 did fine…just a matter of taking the fear away.  And that was easy.  After Iraq, I’d look at every day in police work and say: “Hell, that was easy, nobody was shooting at us.” 

I’ve seen a lot of cops and soldiers who were heroes and never got notice, and others who would do everything they could to avoid a fight.  As it turned out, after rookie #1 above graduated from the academy, made it through the Field Training Program and was on their own, it was discovered that this new officer was very afraid.  That department had just installed GPS real time trackers in all the patrol cars…so the dispatcher could see where the officers were…or the supervisor.  It was discovered that rookie #1 was being sent to hot calls, but not going to them directly, but waiting until all the other cops showed up, then rolling in.  In other words, rookie #1 was afraid.  Not good for a cop (unless you want to be an administrator some office puke)

So, even though the chief did everything he could for rookie #1, it was bye bye…  There’s a reason the police academy washes some people out.  If you lower the standards, you get shit for cops. 

Kermit did good...but had too many beers

26 September 2011

Stolen Valor--- Fake Vets should be kicked in the ......

From the Soldier side (and some cop stuff):  If you’ve been following the great public service they’re doing over at  This Ain't Hell
 you've seen the best version of game elimination…this is better than any TV Game show…because they’re busting fake military vets.   And take a look at  Stolen Valor
When I was talking to somebody about this, they said: “well, they’re not hurting anybody are they?” 

Yes they are.  (and they really piss me off) The fake vets are hurting the memory of those who have given their lives for the defense of our country.  They also tell such huge lies most of the time, that they confuse honest people.  After having been a cop in California for 32 years, I have run into a boatload of fake vets.  One was such an asshole, he had a VA hospital card in his wallet.  This card would allow him free medical care at the VA Hospitals and clinics.  However, when I hauled his ass down to the county mental health unit, I asked him what service he was in. 

He said he was in the Army…so of course as most who fake being Army Vets, he said he was a Ranger and suffers PTSD from Granada.  Well, being that I was Army to, I asked him what his MOS (Military Occupation Specialty)…and he told me he was: “0311”. 

I asked him to clarify that he had been a Ranger, and he said yeah.  Then I challenged him and said that the MOS 0311 is for the USMC- Riflemen.  The US Army grunts are 11-B- or 11-C (I was an 11-C many years ago.)  He then said: “I lied, I was never in the Army.  I took his VA medical card away from him and mailed it to the VA with a letter suggesting that they ask for a person’s DD -214 before giving out help.  I had to wait a friggen’ year after getting home from Iraq before they could even tell me how to go to the VA, and this crazy asshole homeless person was getting help. 

I’ve met several cops who either totally lied about their military service, or made it sound more important than it was.  I know one who retired as a police sergeant a few years ago.  When I first met him about 25 years ago, he told me he had been in the USAF and was only stationed in the States during Viet Nam.  Later, he’d start wearing Viet Nam service medals on his off duty jacket, and had the ribbon on the back of his truck.  Now, everybody thinks he’s a Nam vet.  What’s wrong with that?  He’s a total nut job and gives Nam vets a bad name. 

Many, many years ago, I was working graveyard for the Police Dept…. one of the towns nearby had a nut job who lived in their town and would pull knives on his family etc.  He told the cops he had been a US Army Ranger in Viet Nam etc.  They asked me about what type of training he might have gotten so they could better know how to deal with him if it came to something.  I asked how old the guy was….he was 5 years younger than I was…so after doing some really simple math (cops can’t do math very well) I explained that it would have been impossible for this guy to have been to Viet Nam unless he went when he was about 10 years old.  I also told them to ask him the next time what his MOS was and if they could see his DD-214.  Turned out he had never even been In the Army.  (they ended up  shooting this nut job later---and I’m pretty sure if he’d really been a Ranger, he would have taken a few of them out.) 

Fake Vets often get all kinds of free money and stuff that’s designed for real vets.  They can take jobs form real vets, they can act like idiots and give all vets a bad name.  So the next time you find a person faking being a vet, kick him in the balls….if he has any.       
Fake Vets can photo shop themselves into real action photos...

24 September 2011

What kind of Friends?

From the Soldier side:  In my 2nd posting about teaching Courage, one of the main teaching points I use is being able to make jokes and laugh when bad things are about to happen...even better, in the middle of bad things happening. 
Another teaching point is Military Friends (or Cop Friends)......

Military vs. Civilian Friends

 CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Tell you not to do something stupid when drunk.

MILITARY FRIENDS: Will post 360 security so you don’t get caught.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Call your parents “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” 

 MILITARY FRIENDS: Call your parents’ mom and dad.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Hope the night out drinking goes smoothly, and hope that no one is late for the ride home.

 MILITARY FRIENDS: Know some wild stuff will happen, and set up rally points and an E & E route.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong. MILITARY FRIENDS: Will be sitting next to you saying, Damn...we f**ked up...but hey, that was fun!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.

MILITARY FRIENDS: Steal each others stuff so often nobody remembers who bought it in the first place.

CIVILAIN FRIENDS: Will listen to your relationship problems and hope it works out for you. MILITARY FRIENDS: Will listen to you over a long hard road march, and will help you straighten it out better than Dr. Phil.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.

MILITARY FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Might try to hit on your girl behind your back.

 MILITARY FRIENDS: Have spooned with you in the field more than your girl has, and would never even think about doing that.

 CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.

MILITARY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"

 CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will wish you had enough money to go out that night, and are sorry you couldn't come.

 MILITARY FRIENDS: Will share their last dollar with you, drag you along, and try to work free drinks all night.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Want the money they loaned you back next week.

MILITARY FRIENDS: Can't begin to remember who owes who money after taking care of each other for so long.

 CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will tell you "They'd take a bullet for you."

MILITARY FRIENDS: Will actually take a bullet for you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this because they don’t really get it.... MILITARY FRIENDS: Will steal this, repost this, and then hope you forgot that it was your idea. 

(Actully, this all had nothing to do with Courage, but I just saw this on an old Army buddies post, so I had to steal it...He'll forget soon and think it was my idea.)

...this here video shows one of the best days in the Army..   A Great Day at the Range- Camp Bob

21 September 2011

Class on Courage....

How do you teach Courage?
You had to be brave here!

From the Soldier and Cop side: Over the years I served as both a Soldier and a civilian Cop, I often wondered in many situations if I’d be brave enough for whatever came up.  What would scare me so bad that I couldn’t do my job.  (besides women)

Last week I went to an instructor course that certified me to teach at the basic police academies in California.  It was a very good course and something I wish I could have taken 20 years ago.  However, out of all the tips and methods of teaching we learned, and all the other classes I’ve taken or given…none of them taught us how to be brave or have the courage it would take to do our jobs in a bad situation.  (funny though here, I've been teached advanced officer training for almost 30 years, but to teach at the academy, I had to have special certificaiton)

Then there was 20+ years of the Regular Army and the Army National Guard.  Same problem….how do you train somebody to be brave? 

I never got that class.   

I’ve seen examples in both police work and the Army where I was surrounded with really brave people who never stopped when they had to do something that put their own lives at risk…. From going into a building with armed bad guys in California to going into the streets of Baghdad with armed bad guys…..there was, or is a common thing here. 

Were any of these women or men afraid?  You bet your ass they were, I know I was often.... and later, after we survived the incidents I’d start shaking.  Sometimes I’d think: “wow, what a rush!”  Other times I’d think: “damn that was a dumb thing to do.”  And there were seldom medals given out afterwards, but I went home, or back to the hootch each day and was glad I did something to help. 

But, there were other times when I was around a coward.  They always had some kind of lame excuse, but I would always tell them what I thought of them. 
Click here for:  Example of Courage

I know, the public thinks all cops and fire fighters are brave people who’d do anything to save the cat in the tree…but, sorry but it ain’t so.  It’s not the “new breed” either….I’ve seen it for years.  Like about 15 years ago when I was sent to assist another small local police department who only had 2 officers on duty…one was in a foot pursuit.  Why the cop didn’t just follow the bad guy in his car I’ll never know, but some cops never figure that out…if the bad guy wants to run away, CHASE HIM IN YOUR PATROL CAR! 
So, the bad guy runs to a closed business with a large parking lot in the back that’s closed in by a tall fence.  The bad guy runs up to the gate and goes over the top.  The copper chasing him goes over after the bad guy…(I’d have waited and set up a perimeter) then his back up from his own department stops at the fence and tells me: “I’ll get my uniform dirty if I climb over that…” 

I pushed the coward out of the way and said: “you chickenshitmotherfu….er” and climbed over.  We caught the bad guy and he went to jail.  Needless to say, the cop who did the chasing had no respect for his cover officer…who had done things like that many times.  He was usually the last cop to show up when there was any kind of violence of fighting going on. 
I know some of the cop and military readers will be saying: "yeah, that reminds me of ...."

More stories to follow…. And I’ll throw in the with acts of courage that amazed me. 

17 September 2011

How the US Army designs things

From the Soldier side: This last week I was in a class to train cops to train cops.  During the class, a nice person who had never been in the military asked me how the US Army came up with ideas to make new equipment. 
Well, if you look back throughout the history of the US Army, the ideas usually came from Generals.  Generals are the old guys who have lots of experience on how to fight past wars, but often have no idea what will be needed next week. 

Instead of me trying to explain, look at this video:   Hey, I got an idea!

11 September 2011

A Moment of Silence for those who died on September 11, 2001

From the Cop and Soldier side:

9/11/01:  I was off duty that day from my Civilian Police job.  I was doing my morning workout when the phone rang.  “Hey! Turn on the TV NOW!  Any channel.” 

I hung up the phone and hit the TV remote “On” button and began watching the first Tower as it was burning.  I thought that was weird to have a fire that large in one of the towers.  A minute later, a passenger jet crashed into the 2nd Tower.  I knew that was no accident…it was a terrorist asshole attack. 

I was a full time copper and in the California Army National Guard.  I had just changed military units and was in a two year program changing my MOS (Military Occupation Specialty- or Job) to MKR, Mess Kit Repair.  Since I was only a weekend warrior, I had the option when I changed my MOS of either going through the straight 18 week school at Ft Huachuca, AZ; or going to class one weekend a month and going to Ft H two 2 week sessions.  I had a full time job, so I took the extended course. 

For the job I had just gotten into, I KNEW I’d be going somewhere after I saw that second plane hit. 

A few days after Nine Eleven, I went to work.  I worked in a very small town that people in the rest of the world have never heard of.  So, when I was driving my patrol car around punching holes in the air, I couldn’t understand some of the calls Dispatch sent us to in those days.

Dispatch: “L3 can you contact the RP (reporting party) at 123 Nut Tree Lane, she sees a small airplane flying over her house and thinks it might be another attack.”

L3 (me) looking up in the sky (remember I said “small town”) and seeing a Piper Cub or some such little plane flying way the hell up in the air.  “Dispatch, I can see a plane.  I appears to be flying over the town.”

Dispatch: “L3 can you see the tail number, I’ll call the FAA”

L3(Me) scratching my head and wonder where we got some dumbass dispatchers that would just feed into some of the insanity the callers had . “Dispatch, L3, the plane is too high and I think it’s just passing over. “ 

We never did get the tail number, but…keep in mind…this long enough after Nine Eleven that planes were allowed to fly again…but I worked in a silly town that was full of nuts.  Why anybody thought terrorist would take a plane and crash it into any place in our town was the kind of things only nuts could think of. 

Little did I know where I’d end up going later on with my National Guard unit…. Fun places like Bosnia and Iraq. 

And…I’d do it again if I was needed.  I was actually kind of glad to get away from the little police dept for a couple of years…. "Whiskey for my men and beer for my horses..."

I’ll be busy this next week.  I’m going to the police academy to take a class so I can teach there.      

09 September 2011

One ARMY, One Fight....why I stayed in....

From the Soldier side:  Some people have asked me how I managed to put up with staying in the US Army and the California Army National Guard for so long….good question.  First, let me make it very clear that regardless (I wanted to used er-regardless, but people tell me that’s not a real word) of what the “Big Army” says, the Regular US Army, the US Army Reserves and the National Guard are distinctly different organizations.  When we were in Iraq, the Army’s mantra was: “One Army, One Fight.” 

I asked: “then how come the National Guard get's treated like the Bastard Child?  When we get activated, even though we went to Active Army Post to train, we got stuck in the abandoned WWII barracks and fed sub standard food or the warehouse in Ft Polk.   When we got to Kuwait, the even forgot to give us Ammo!” 

Then I think back to when I was in the Regular Army.  ( a very long time ago)  I went through AIT (Advanced Individual Training) at Ft Polk, LA--- for Infantry mortars- MOS 11C 10.  We had a bunch of National Guard folks in our platoon.  We thought they were retarded.  They screwed up everything they did and made the rest of the platoon look bad.  Looking back, I realized THAT was the image the regular Army had of all National Guard troops.  And in many cases, they were right.  We did have some retards.  But on the other hand, we had a lot of troops with a lot of worldly experiences that the Regular Army troops lacked.
Ft Polk Warehouse--- housed 185 troops


One example...when we were in Kuwait, we had to do convoy training.  The Regular Army unit a bunch of us California Guard pukes got attached to had NEVER been on any kind of convoy.  So, as we got ready for that day’s training, the commander asked some of us senior Guard sergeants if we’d ever been on any kind of convoy.  A few of us had….. you see, that’s how we usually got from our home armory to the training area every summer for “camp.”  I had also done many from West Berlin, Germany- through East Germany down to West Germany--- through Check Point Alpha and Bravo.  (Check Point Charlie went from East to West Berlin). 
Opps....sideways...oh heck...Berlin in 1975

When we finally got to Iraq, again the Regular Army unit we were attached to had nobody with any kind of real experience doing what we were going to do---so they  formed the teams that went out and traveled with National Guard pukes. ( a bunch of us had just been to Bosnia)  Later they added Army Reserves…but I don’t recall a single Active Duty Army Soldier on the teams in the first few months...they had them pulling security for us, but none were on our teams.  Later in the deployment they got some really good and expereinced Reg Army folks on some of the teams...

Now, please don’t get me wrong….ALL OF OUR TROOPs were great people.  Some of them, Active, Guard and Reserve, were some of the smartest people I have ever seen in my life.  And 99% of them were braver than most cops I know.  What it took to go out into Baghdad every day in M1114 Humvees was beyond brave.    At one point, the team I had was made up of Active Army (Afgan Vet) a Reserve and some Guard Soldiers.  I asked the Active duty guy if it bothered him that a Guard Soldier was in charge of him and he said: "Sarge, I'd rather have you than anybody else here!" That made my day. 

And the funny thing was--- many of the younger soldiers, Regular Army, Reserves, and Guard HAD ENLISTED AFTER NINE ELEVEN…. Knowing that they might do to someplace bad. 

But going back to the original question: Why did I stay in so long…and put in for retirement? 

Because of all the funny shit that happened…
If anybody fell asleep during training, I'd get them with the Rubber Chicken...they got me one day

Because not every Soldier did good, they had to come up with new awards

How the USMC sees the US Army

08 September 2011

How did 9/11 change your life?

From the Soldier and cop side: September 11th 2001 changed both my police career and my military one. 
I read the local news paper this morning….asked a few locals where they were on 9/11.  To tell you the truth, I really couldn’t read everybody’s story because…since I live in a small town, the local paper puts out pretty boring stuff…  I thought it over and thought a better question and more interesting story might have been: “How did 9/11 change your life?” 

Please leave your comments…I’ll post about this in a few days. -CI Roller Dude

05 September 2011

To help you understand cops..

From the Cop side:  Many "normal folks" (civilians) may not fully underestand that there are different kinds of cops.  This depends on the size of the department, but I think this is true across the US:

Narcotics -Immediately grow facial hair, tell everybody you were ordered to.
-Start watching every episode of Monster Garage.
-Buy a biker wallet with a big chain.
-Make every case involve overtime $$$.
-Buy bunches of boats, RV's, and motorcycles with that overtime.
-Learn to play golf drunk.

-Wear team T-shirts, Oakley sunglasses and boots everyday.
-Try to fit the word breach in to every conversation.
-Have a mirror handy to check hair, if you have hair.
-Never say hello to anyone who is not an operator, just practice your SWAT head nod.
-Subscribe to Soldier of Fortune and Muscle and Fitness.
-Learn to play golf wearing a gun.

Community Service units -Hate SWAT
-Work to make everybody love you.
-Paint your office in pastel colors.
-Think Feng Shui.
-Subscribe to Psychology Today.
-Learn to play miniature golf.

Traffic units
-Write tickets to EVERYBODY.
-Spend every weekend cleaning your bike and polishing boots.
-Annoy everyone on the radio calling out your stops.
-Talk about nothing but how many tickets you wrote in one day.
-Ride by a building with big windows to see your reflection.
-Golf is lame, motor rodeos are cool.

K-9 Units -Become sadistic
-Show pictures of your latest dog bite
-Brag about your largest drug find
-Smell like a dog
-Workout 3 times a day
-Show off your bruises

Range masters
 Still owns every gun ever issued in the dept
- Started bugging chief in 1979 to allow officers to carry semi auto on duty
- "suggested" in the 1990's that they put AR 15s in the patrol car
- Laughs when he sees admin or detectives carrying a useless .38 snub nose because they think it's cool. (read # 2 above asshole)
- Can't understand why any officer would not want to go to the range - where you get free ammo and get paid to shoot.
- Has a holster and a pistol that will match any outfit he has to wear—but usually wears 511 pants or his old Army pants to the range.

Administrative Units -Three-hour lunches everyday, tell everybody it's a "meeting".
-Upgrade department cell phone every month.
-Tell everybody you are published in a national law enforcement magazine.
-Update your revenge list on a weekly basis.
-Golf Rules! Play lots of golf.

Patrol Units -Has nerves of steel.
-In a terminal state of nausea from department politics.
-Inability to keep mouth shut.
-Has defining tastes in alcohol.
-Is respected by peers.
-Beats the crap out of his caddy on any bogeyed shot

FTO (Field Training Officer) -Automatically grasps the door handle until knuckles turn white when car is put in gear
-Considers a multiple-victim homicide in progress a “good training opportunity” and asks to take primary
-Considers less than three hours of OT to be a quiet day

Investigators -Come in at 0800
-"Breakfast" from 0815 to 1030
-Work from 1030 to Noon
-Noon to 1400 Work out and Lunch
-1400-1700 Sit in CID and talk about how many girlfriends you have and how the wife doesn't know. Plan your next RV, fishing, motorcycle trip.

Patrol Sergeant
-Remembers very well "how we used to do do it."
-Always willing to tell his officers the above.
-Tries to fit the word "liability" in to every sentence.
-Talks about "what he's hearing from upstairs."

Trainee -Unable to grow facial hair.
-Watches every episode of Cops.
-Worships the ground the SWAT guys walk on.
-Arrives for work three hours early.
-Thinks the sergeant is thrilled to see him.
-Won't drink on the golf course because it violates the open container ordinance.

Feds - Shave head, and grow goatee (unless you want to be a management weenie, then make sure you are clean shaven, with short almost military style haircut).
- Wear 5.11 pants, and polo with agency logo (unless you want to be a management weenie, then make sure you always have a shirt and pants to which a jacket and tie can be quickly added for when the boss might be around).
- Arrive at work at 8AM, spend one hour answering useless emails, and 30 minutes checking your retirement investments. Then go with another agent to Starbucks "to discuss your a new case."
- After participating in your first warrant service (as outside cover) make plans to join the agency SRT, SWAT, etc., to "properly utilize your superior tactical skills."
- After doing your first buy bust, immediately begin asking the boss about "long term undercover" jobs.
- Refuse to play golf with "the locals."

New Corrections Officers
- Show up for work 15 minutes early
- Buy only the best ink pens (Pilot G-2)
- Wear T-Shirts of your "dream department" under your uniform
- Wear a full duty belt of gear even though you have to remove everything when you arrive at the facility
- Become friends with every local police officer

Court Security
-Say you don’t want to work patrol anyway, but monitor dispatch channel while in courtroom
-Have Jail and courthouse cafeteria menus memorized
-Have seriously thought of entering law school after sitting through three jury trials
-Consider the Public Defenders’ Christmas party the high point of the year

Defensive Tactics Instructors -Starts stretching before making arrest
-Can spend hours debating the advantages of ASP vs. straight stick
-Has spent more than $50 on a wood baton
-Giggles when a suspect starts to resist

02 September 2011

Deployment Prep...

From the Soldier side:  I think I posted some of this in the past.  This might be helpful for anybody getting ready to deploy.  We used this before Iraq.

How to Prepare for a Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan

1. Sleep on a cot in the garage.

2. Replace the garage door with a curtain.

3. Six hours after you go to sleep, have your wife or girlfriend whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble, "Sorry, wrong cot."

4. Renovate your bathroom. Hang a green plastic sheet down from the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. Keep four inches of soapy cold water on the floor. Stop cleaning the toilet and pee everywhere but in the toilet itself. Leave two to three sheets of toilet paper. Or for best effect, remove it altogether. For a more realistic deployed bathroom experience, stop using your bathroom and use a neighbor's. Choose a neighbor who lives at least a quarter mile away.

5. When you take showers, wear flip-flops and keep the lights off.

6. Every time there is a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and dump dirt on your head.

7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it on "HIGH" for that tactical generator smell.

8. Don't watch TV except for movies in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch and then show a different one.

9. Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.

10. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.

11. Once a week, blow compressed air up through your chimney making sure the wind carries the soot across and on to your neighbor's house. Laugh at him when he curses you.

12. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.  Burn all your trash up wind and make sure you only burn it when the wind will blow back to where you live.

13. Wake up every night at midnight and have an MRE peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a saltine cracker.

14. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator. Then serve some kind of meat in an unidentifiable sauce poured over noodles. Do this for every meal.

15. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get to the shower as fast as you can. Simulate there is no hot water by running out into your yard and breaking out the garden hose.

16. Once a month, take every major appliance completely apart and put it back together again. Turn off the heater/ AC and “change the oil” right when it’s the hottest or coldest time of the day- depending on the time of year.

17. One day use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for five or six hours before drinking.  The next day, use one scoop. 

18. Invite at least 185 people you don't really like because of their strange hygiene habits to come and visit for a couple of months. Exchange clothes with them.

19. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.

20. Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills of your front and back doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.  

21. Keep a roll of toilet paper on your night stand and bring it to the bathroom with you. And bring your gun and a flashlight.

22. Go to the bathroom when you just have to pass gas, "just in case." Every time.

23. Announce to your family that they have mail, have them report to you as you stand outside your open garage door after supper and then say, "Sorry, it's for the other Smith."

24. Wash only 15 items of laundry per week. Roll up the semi-wet clean clothes in a ball. Place them in a cloth sack in the corner of the garage where the cat pees. After a week, unroll them and without ironing or removing the mildew, proudly wear them to professional meetings and family gatherings. Pretend you don't know what you look or smell like. Enthusiastically repeat the process for another week.

25. Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find, go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket and a Kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a tent in a vacant lot. Announce to the residents that you are there to help them.

26. Eat a single M&M every Sunday and convince yourself it's for Malaria.

27. Demand each family member be limited to 10 minutes per week for a morale phone call. Enforce this with your teenage daughter.  When you e-mail family and friends, stand in line for 30 minutes, do all your e-mail in 10 minutes, and unplug the connection before you’re done sending out your e-mails.  Break one or two keys off the keyboard.

28. Shoot a few bullet holes in the walls of your home for proper ambiance.

29. Sandbag the floor of your car to protect from mine blasts and fragmentation.

30. While traveling down roads in your car, stop at each overpass and culvert and inspect them for remotely detonated explosives before proceeding.

31. Fire off 50 cherry bombs simultaneously in your driveway at 3:00 a.m. When startled neighbors appear, tell them all is well, you are just registering mortars. Tell them plastic will make an acceptable substitute for their shattered windows.

32. Drink your milk and sodas warm.  Never drink alcoholic beverages, but have a family member mail you a bottle of Listerine filled with vodka.

33. Spread gravel throughout your house and yard.

34. Make your children clear their Super Soakers in a clearing barrel you placed outside the front door before they come in.

35. Make your family dig a survivability position with overhead cover in the backyard. Complain that the 4x4s are not 8 inches on center and make them rebuild it.

36. Continuously ask your spouse to allow you to go buy an M-Gator.

37. When your 5-year-old asks for a stick of gum, have him find the exact stick and flavor he wants on the Internet and print out the web page. Type up a Form 9 and staple the web page to the back. Submit the paperwork to your spouse for processing. After two weeks, give your son the gum.

38. Announce to your family that the dog is a vector for disease and shoot it. Throw the dog in a burn pit you dug in your neighbor's back yard.

39. Wait for the coldest/ hottest day of the year and announce to your family that there will be no heat/air conditioning that day so you can perform much needed maintenance on the heater/ air conditioner. Tell them you are doing this so they won't get cold/ hot.

40. Just when you think you're ready to resume a normal life, order yourself to repeat this process for another six months to simulate the next deployment you've been ordered to support.